Firefighters deal with spate of bonfire blazes as stay-at-homes get busy in Northamptonshire gardens

Safety Warnings over burning rubbish during coronavirus lockdown

By Kevin Nicholls
Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 2:51 pm

Firefighters were called to four bonfire blazes in one 24-hour period over the weekend as the county made the most of the coronavirus lockdown by clearing out their gardens.

In one incident in Wilbarston a shed, fencing, a trampoline and hedgerow were all damaged by fire.

Another blaze resulted in damage to a workshop, and in a separate incident, a stray ember is believed to have ignited a summerhouse in Earls Barton.

Other recent calls have involved a quantity of tree branches and shrubbery involved in fire; burning hedge cuttings and an out-of-control bonfire at Raunds, Wilbarston and Mears Ashby.

Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue feared a spike in domestic bonfires with more people carrying out gardening and other DIY projects at home while council recycling centres are closed during the lockdown.

And disgruntled council tax payers in Northampton predicted more burning of garden waste when the Borough Council starts charging for brown bin collections on April 6.

But fire chiefs issued a stern warning to take care as a garden bonfire can easily become out of control.

Northamptonshire firefighters dealt with four bonfire blazes during the first lockdown weekend

Prevention Team Leader Darren Carson said: “We are urging people to please be careful if attempting to set up a bonfire.

“We would encourage people not to have these fires if possible but, if they do continue to have them, they should be sited well away from anything that could possibly ignite.

“Caution should also be exercised in the kinds of materials used as some items can be dangerous to burn and could give off toxic fumes or produce significant smoke plumes which result in a call to the fire service anyway.”

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